NBA players are always looking to improve. For the Toronto Raptors, what is the one part of their game they could fix in just five minutes?
There’s an old saying when giving advice about someone’s looks — if they can’t fix it in five minutes or less, you probably shouldn’t tell them. Telling someone they have something in their teeth is polite; telling them they need to start brushing more consistently…. isn’t quite as nice. What if we took that same concept and applied it to the Toronto Raptors?
If we could make one five-minute fix for each of the starters on the Raptors, what would they be?
Marc Gasol – Shoot more
Basketball is about finding the yin and yang between selfishness and selflessness. Most players, by nature, are too selfish. They control the ball, they worry about beating their opponent, and oftentimes, shoot too much.
Gasol has the opposite instinct. He’s a passer first, always looking to move the ball in a Spursian-esq fashion. He believes the game should be played a certain way.
For the most part, that’s a great thing. You want players to have the shooting tendencies of Marc Gasol rather than Russell Westbrook.
But sometimes a player needs to take over and score the freaking ball. Gasol’s lack of aggression can be used to his detriment.
Marc Gasol with the questionable pass here😂😂pic.twitter.com/40BcSvo8Wo
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) May 20, 2019
We can laugh at the funny visual of this pass (it is pretty funny), but the bigger question is why is the seven-footer with a full head of steam, barreling downhill not just making a play at the rim? Attack the basket and you almost certainly get a dunk or a foul on Brook Lopez. Force the action, rather than passing it up.
And it’s not only about the shots he passes up, but rather a lack of aggression looking for those opportunities. During the playoffs, against the Philadelphia 76ers, Gasol was being guarded by Tobias Harris. Even if posting-up isn’t part of the Raptors strategy, there’s no reason the Big Burrito shouldn’t have put his armpits in the rim play-after-play.
Marc has never been an aggressive shot-taker, but that aggression dropped off even more after the trade to the Raptors. His field goal attempts per 36-minutes went from 13.8 to 10.4 after leaving Memphis. This season, with Kawhi Leonard out of the mix, that figure needs to rebound to his Grizzly numbers.
Gasol’s passing is such an important part of his game, and he doesn’t need to totally overhaul his playing style. If he can just inch a little more towards the selfish end of the spectrum, it will be extremely helpful to him and the Raptors.